The Supreme Court today extended the deadline for filing claims and objections for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam. The new date for submitting the forms has been extended from December 15 to 31.
The top court also extended the date of verification process of claims by another 15 days to February 15. The NRC coordinator told the court that he has received 14.8 lakh claims and it is "not easy for people who are semi-literate to fill up the forms." The state, in its petition, also said that the panchayat elections in the state is another major reason for seeking more time.
People in the Brahmaputra and Barak Valley were "taking active part in the democratic process," said the Assam government, adding that perhaps the lack of awareness about procedures of filing among the people in pockets may be the reason for fewer number of claims filed so far.
The top court told the NRC coordinator that the draft should be made available at the local offices to enable those who want to file claims and objections.
Earlier the Assam government had approached the top court seeking an extension of the deadline beyond December 15. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi assured that the court, which is supervising the massive exercise in Assam, will consider their request.
There was chaos and confusion as the deadline approached in the last few weeks. The final NRC draft had listed 2.8 crore people, leaving out about 40 lakh applicants. So far only about 10 lakh people have been able to file their claims, the NRC coordinator told the court.